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A Thousand Beautiful Things

Janis Siegel

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Album Review

The ninth solo album by Janis Siegel — an accomplished leader who is nevertheless most famous for her membership in the vocal jazz quartet Manhattan Transfer — is something that you almost certainly never saw coming: a collection of modern pop songs arranged in an assortment of Latin styles. Gimmicky? Willfully bizarre? Amazingly enough, it's neither. Siegel's strong, supple voice and her consummate taste allow her to bring something new and often subtly complex to every song, without indulging in unnecessary weirdness. Granted, her gifts aren't always sufficient to redeem mediocre material: Björk's "Hidden Place" gives her very little melodic substance to work with, and it makes for an unpromising opening track. But her take on Nellie McKay's "The Suitcase Song" is much more exciting, and the multi-layered Cuban percussion on "I Can't Help It" is brilliant. Even better is the Colombian harp solo on her rendition of Suzanne Vega's "Caramel," and the multi-tracked background vocals on her arrangement of Paul Simon's "Love" are breathtaking. There are many more such moments on this exceptionally fine album. Strongly recommended to jazz and pop fans alike.

Customer Reviews

Great album from Janis Spiegel

This is one of her best. Every time I listen to this album, i discover something new in Janis' interpretation of these wonderful songs. Great job Janis!

I could say a thousand beautiful things about this album

This is a lovely -- and interesting -- group of songs, especially Hidden Place and the title track. Janis is in great voice and the instruments and arrangements beautifully enhance rather than overpower her singing. I'm a big fan of the Manhattan Transfer but an equal fan of this solo work. It really grows on you with repeated listenings.

Biography

Born: July 23, 1952 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Vocalist Janis Siegel had been a member of the the Manhattan Transfer since 1972, she has also built a successful solo career since 1982. Siegel's first album as a leader, Experiment in White established her solo credentials, while the follow-up, At Home, earned a Grammy nomination in 1987 for Best Female Jazz Vocal. Siegel began the first of several collaborations with pianist/composer Fred Hersch on 1989's Short Stories. The duo relied less on standards and concentrated instead on modern pop songs...
Full Bio
A Thousand Beautiful Things, Janis Siegel
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